Getting Back on the Horse

I mean the title of this post is both literally and figuratively.  Because I did both this weekend.  Yep.  I fell off the horse I was riding at the branding on Saturday.  I only have one thing to say.  It hurt a lot more than I ever expected it to. 

Not that falling off of a horse is really something I ever pondered before, but I just didn’t expect it to hurt that badly as I was going down.  One minute I was looking at this.

The next, I was up close and personal with the ground.

Basically, I went out into the pasture to help the other 3 riders round up the 40 head of cattle.  Long story short, the horse and I went down into an old creek bed (read trees) I didn’t get him steered away from said trees quickly enough, took a branch to the arm, and it was pretty much game over from there.  Ground, meet Lindsey.  Lindsey, meet ground. 

I did get back onto the horse and rode on to the corral where the cows were already nicely rounded up. 

Uh, huge sigh of relief.  Where’s the Bud Light? 😉

Here’s how the branding goes down.  The cows and bulls are separated from the calves, accounted for, and vaccinated.  They are turned loose, but always hang around to wait for the calves.  The calves are branded, vaccinated, and tagged.  That’s it.  Then they’re turned back out into the pastures to eat grass and roam the Wyoming prairie to their little heart’s content. 

Here are some photos from the branding. 

The cows and bulls in a separate corral from calves.

The cutest calf ever.

The cutest little kid on the prairie and some of the other youngins.

Some other shots…

I was on calf control duty.  I just had to wave my arms and yell when they tried to come over to the “working” end of the corral…  It was hard 😉

And on to the other horse I triumphantly jumped back onto this weekend! 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes 😀

Soooooo good.  I used Ashley’s Chococate Avocado Cake Recipe.

Dry Ingredients

Wet Ingredients + Avocado

Results…

Lots of cupcakes…

I used Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter Icing recipe.  Seriously.  Amazing.  Awe-inspiring.  Life changing. 

Yeah.  Stop poking your computer screen.  It doesn’t work that way.

Cupcake Heaven

I may have fallen off a horse today, but it’s cool, because I kicked these cupcakes’ butts! 

Now that you’re drooling.  I know you are.  Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes.  Ashley’s got load of tips and pictures for putting these bad boys together.  Just make sure you whip up the avocado well.  I used a whisk.  I baked the mini cupcakes for 15-18 minutes and the regular ones for 20-22 minutes. 

Peanut Butter Icing

  • 5 tablespoons of room temperature butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ~3 tablespoons whipping cream

Whip together the first 4 ingredients and then add the cream until the icing is light and fluffy.

So kids.  Get back on the horse.  Whether it’s an actual horse or the most amazing cupcakes the world has and will ever know, you’ll be glad you did :D.

Advertisements

PB + Chocolate Heaven

So I ate a lot of leftovers today, but one thing I ate was aaaawesome (I’m totally singing that word to myself as I type it).  It was not leftovers, but it is something you’ve seen before here.  The return of the Chocolate Avocado Banana Pudding :D.  I’ll let you hang on the edge of seats for minute to see the twist on that one though…

For breakfast…I bet you can’t guess!  OK, maybe you can. 

Yep, granola and Fage (click here for the Fage discovery/love post!).  But I promise I’m pretty much out of granola, so something new is lurking around the corner :P.

Lunch was leftover pizza.  Soggy pizza is not my fave, so I like to pop my leftovers into a toaster oven on the toast setting.  It’s the best way I’ve found to revive leftover pizza.  Luckily we have a toaster oven at work!  Worked like a charm!

Afternoon snackage.  Berry palooza!!  And some almonds for staying power (haha, there were more than 4!).  Protein + fiber + healthy fat = Happy Lindsey!

Oh wait.  Dessert?  Did I forget something here?  Indeed I did.  Last night I whipped up some that Choc Av Nanner Pudding I discovered on Edible Perspective.  Turned out quite well again and I threw some in a container for my lunch today.  When I went to eat it today, though, I could hear the jar of peanut butter in my drawer quietly screaming at me… “Liiindseyyyy…you know you’ve been craving the glorious combo of PB + Choc ever since that heart breaking cupcake debacle….”  OK, may be it was just in my head, but still…  Behold.

Heaven Squared

I decided to make some PB sauce a la Kath sans microwaving.  I just mixed some milk into the PB to thin it out and topped my already heavenly pudding with it.

Oh man.  Oh man, oh man, oh man.  I hit the jackpot with this one.  Now I’m thinking of trying to make this pudding, PB style and swirling it with it’s chocolate soulmate…  If it works I will surely let you know!

Dinner was a grilling feast, even though another gnarly storm rolled through town tonight.  Luckily, it was gone by the time my tummy started rumblin’.

On the Way to the Grill

Those are elk loin steaks by the way!  Just seasoned with salt and pepper.  I’m a fan of game meat, so I don’t go all out with the marinating or anything…  Accompanied by mushroom, pepper, and onion kebabs, and sliced zucchini.  Got the zucchini idea from Katie!  I’d always put the zucchini on the kebabs before, but I love it like this way more!

Tha, tha, tha… tha, that, that’s all folks!

I hope that reminded you of looney tunes, otherwise, you think I’m completely nuts right now…  Then again, that ship may have sailed a long time ago…

Know When to Fold ‘Em

You guys, I feel like Kenny Rogers was screaming this song at me when I got home today. 

First, I left my camera at work.  Again.  I know you’re probably tired of reading that by now, but trust me, I’m just as tired of having to type it.  It was going to be OK, though, because my roommate has a great camera, and to make it up to you guys I had grand plans to document the making of…

…wait for it…

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

I’ll give you a minute.  Or maybe I’ll give myself a minute.  I am not a passionate baker by any stretch of the imagination, but this, ladies and gents, I will gladly bake any day of the week given just the right amount of motivation.

Too bad Kenny Rogers saw things differently…

I started by going to store to get avocados because I wanted to make the chocolate cupcake part of the recipe from this Chocolate Avocado Cake recipe that Ashley made a little while ago.  So after a Racheal Ray style balancing act through the grocery store with all of the other things I decided I needed, and losing my keys twice in the grocery store because I kept putting things down to rebalance, I headed home with cupcake grandeur on the brain.

Unfortunately, when I got home I could not get Ashley’s page to load.  Uhhhh, come on internet, don’t fail me now.  And things went downhill from here fast people. 

I decided to just make the peanut butter icing while I waited for the internet to right itself.  I think this is when Kenny caught wind of the impending downward spiral in my humble townhouse kitchen in Wyoming….

I put the peanut butter, butter, milk, and powdered sugar into a bowl and proceeded with my hand mixer.  This thing is a gem from a thrift store raid to fill my first apartment in college 7 years ago.

Martha Stewart's First Hand Mixer

It is now in hand mixer heaven where it should have been at least 20 years ago.  The frosting broke my mixer.  I would be sadder, but this was only the beginning.  Ummmm, food processor to the rescue (I thought).  I coaxed all of the ingredients out of the mixing bowl and into the food processor. 

It whirred and whirred away, but something was amiss.  It wasn’t creamy peanut buttery goodness.  It was a weird glob of greasy…I can’t even find the word for it.

I don’t know what happened.  My only suspicion is that natural peanut butter (sans hydrogenated oils) turned what is arguably one of the most glorious sugary concoctions known to man, into this.

Yeah, that’s the same picture again, but I just kept staring at it.  Is this really happening??  OK, maybe the internet is happy again and I can at least get to the cupcake recipe.  NOPE.  Not gonna happen.  It was at this point that I threw in the towel and Kenny Rogers’ “Know When to Hold ‘Em” started on repeat in my head. 

Some days my dears chocolatey peanut butter bliss just isn’t in the cards…

I would show you what I ended up with for dinner, but I just don’t have it in me.  It was just a pile of self loathing vegetables anyways. 

I’m going to go run this one off.  At least the weather’s turned around here and it’s a perfect 74 degrees outside with a pleasant breeze. 

And I really don’t want to leave you with this epic fail for the night, so why not go check out the new Kaya-face puppy pictures I added to Husky in the Room!!  That face can turn around even the worst of bad days ;).

Oh and Mama Pea’s African Peanut Stew from last night was the exact opposite of an epic fail.  It may be the least photogenic thing I’ve ever taken a picture of…

…but yeah.  It was amazing.  Let me say that again.  Amazing.  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  It was a shining light of delicious in a day featuring a not so successful foray into the the world of baking.

I’ll see ya on the flip side.

Tuesday Treats

I am not going to start at the beginning today.  I will give you the granola recipe, but I have to start with my Tuesday treat (this could totally become a regular thing).  As I have hinted at before, I love the flavor of bananas, but their gooey, mushy, icky texture is just that to me.  Icky.  I know what you’re thinking.  Who doesn’t like bananas??  Well, I do like them in anything that’s cooked (bread, pancakes, cookies…), just not raw. 

When I saw banana soft serve, I thought it looked amazing, and prayed that I would like it.  I mean it looks exactly like ice cream.  So I gave it a whirl (pun totally intended :P).

Initial Chunks of Frozen Banana

Banana Soft Serve

Verdict:  I can’t think think of a word that captures it’s awesomeness.  It’s so dang good.  I just added a little bit of vanilla extract and almond milk and it was spot on!  Obviously it tastes like bananas, but friends it is anything but icky!!  Recipe is as follows:

  • 2 super ripe frozen bananas
  • 2 tablespoons of almond milk (or any milk, just to loosen it up)
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Yep, that’s it.  And who do we have to thank for making so many of us aware of the most natural and probably the healthiest ice cream around?  The lovely Gena at Choosing Raw.  Here’s her post where the great reveal occurred ;).  I’m being totally overly dramatic, but it’s just that good :). *This used to credit the wrong person but the right blog.  I can’t remember who I was thinking of when I wrote this last night, but Gena is the one we can all thank for our new favorite summer treat :D.

I topped mine with almond butter and the raw chocolate syrup they suggested: 2 parts agave nectar to 1 part cocoa powder. 

So, so delicious people.

Entirely Necessary Close Up 😀

Now if you’re still with me and haven’t already run to your banana stash to throw them all into the freezer, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled granola recipe.  Let’s go back to breakfast.  Granola and Fage 0% greek yogurt (if you missed this post about the Fage, this yogurt had stolen my heart).

I promised you this granola recipe, so I am here to deliver!  It’s extremely good and actually something I’ve been making since college.  None of the flavors here are dominant enough to call it any certain type of granola.  It’s just got a nice level of sweetness to it from the agave nectar and brown sugar :).

  • 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup any dried fruit, I used equal amounts of dried cranberries and dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the honey, canola oil, and vanilla extract in a sauce pan over low heat.  Mix the rest of the ingredients (minus any dried fruit) and be sure to break up any chunks of brown sugar with your hands and evenly distribute it throughout the mixture.  Pour the ingredients in the sauce pan over the dry ingredients and stir until the entire mixture is evenly coated.   Spread granola onto a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and stir.  Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes watching carefully until browned.

Finally, mix in your choice of dried fruit and enjoy!

Enough Granola for an Army 🙂

For lunch I had 2 more turkey meatballs all gussied up in the last of my proscuitto….

…a spinach salad with cherry tomoatoes and honey dill vinaigrette…

…and Bush’s baked beans I found hiding in my pantry to round it out ;).

Thank goodness for leftovers! 

Snacking this afternoon involved these beautiful organic strawberries I picked up last night.  Actually, only $5!

Now, I’m off to make dinner and go do battle with my lawn :(.  Ugh, can you tell it’s my least favorite part of home ownership?  Oh well, definitely looking forward to my shrimpies for dinner!  Good night!

Got Chocolate?

What would you do if you spent the latter half of your day uncontrollably eating this chocolate bar?

Come home and eat more chocolate of course.

Chocolate Indulgence #1:  Lindt’s A Touch of Sea Salt Dark Chocolate.  What a treat!  I mean, if you can keep yourself form eating half of the bar in one afternoon :P. 

Let me see if I can harness my inner foodie and descibe it to you.  As you bite into it, you think, “Oh, Lindt makes such delightf…  Oh, is that salt?  Man that’s interes…  Oh wow.  This is so rich.”  Haha, as soon as you taste the little flecks of salt, they’re gone as fast as they came.  And then you’re left loving the last few bits of chocolate in your mouth and opening the package back up for another bite.  Dangerous ;).

Chocolate Indulgence #2: chocolate pudding.  But this chocolate pudding has a healthy twist to it and if you haven’t seen it before, be prepared to be blown away.  That is, if you’re brave enough to try it!

The Ingredients

It’s Chocolate Avocado Banana Pudding from Ashley over at Edible Perspective!  As you can see I subbed Almond Milk for coconut milk and agave nectar for the brown rice syrup (and I definitely used 2 tablespoons!). 

I promise you can’t taste the avocado (just adds creaminess) and the banana flavor is there, but not the banana texture (which I really dislike).  Just throw it all into the food processor and behold!

Pudding!!

Creamy chocolatey goodness that will undoubtedly take you back to pudding cups and recess!

So to recap here.  Chocolate binges happen to all of us :D, and one chocolate filled afternoon does not a body wreck.  There’s no reason to crawl into a corner and eat a deep fried Snickers bar.  Just relish in it and take it for what it is!  Indulgences are part of a healthy diet, so when you’ve regained your composure, just eat some chocolate covered veggies for good measure and move on ;).

And if you have a dog as cute as this one, take her for a run.  You’ll both be glad you did!

Kaya-face

Hopefully, I’ll post again tonight after my chocolate covered veggies and 4 mile run for my 10k this weekend.

The Show Must Go On

Hey hey hey!  I made it!  Haha, on top of not recommending mowing the lawn at night, I do not recommend five measly hours of sleep after teaching a 2 hour climbing class and then battling with your lawn mower for 2 hours afterwards.  My right arm is indescribably sore from starting the beast over and over again – I mean, who knew you had to winterize a lawn mower??  But I’ve come out the other end ready to blog, because I remembered to bring my camera home tonight 😀 .  So without any further delay, it’s photo time.  Oh, and I discovered what aperture is on my camera thanks to the lovely Pioneer Woman and I’m loving it!  Prepare for photo overload!

Yesterday’s breakfast was the sandwich version of my buffalo chicken omelette.  Just as tasty and I got my whole grains in there with the Wheat Montana Cracked 9-Grain bread!

Then I made a chicken wrap for lunch, since I just bought my first pack of Ezekiel sprouted grain wraps and I was way excited to try them. 

I can’t say the wraps are as good as a nice doughy whole wheat tortilla, but they pack a heckuva heavier nutritional punch, so I’m down with ’em ;).  And I’m not saying I don’t like them, they’re just not as good as their nutritionally lesser cousin.

The wrap had spinach, chicken, vermont extra sharp cheddar (my heart be still)…

…and tomatoes.  Pretty simple, so when I got back to my desk I doused the baby in some Frank’s hot sauce.  Spicy = gooooood.  Today I had the same thing, but with some of that honey curry hummus.  I have to say it really brought the wrap to a whole new level 😛 . 

Snacks.  Yesterday I had and crunchy, juicy, organic Fuji apple, and a fun-size bag of M&M’s. 

Oh, and a piece of the peanut butter bread with a square of Wild Harvest Organic dark chocolate.  Holy wow, yum!!

I said yum right?? 

Let’s see… 

Breakfast today was almond butter oats with coconut butter.  Totally inspired by this chica’s blog, who pointed me to this protein oat cake recipe (mine never cook up like an actual cake, though).  I think I’m going to have to start reading April’s blog… 🙂

Not overly exciting, but so satisfying and delicious!  I ate these at 6:45 am and wasn’t hungry until 11!!  The key is the egg whites + nut butter.  One without the other would not be enough protein and these wouldn’t have a chance of keeping me full. 

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant!)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon of agave nectar or any sweetener
  • 1 heaping tablespoon almond butter (or any nut butter)

Mix the first four together and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.  While stirring add the egg whites.  Microwave for another ~2 minutes.  I added agave nectar, almond butter and coconut butter, but with these three you could go crazy and add whatever you want!!  Mashed banana, pumpkin puree, whole nuts, dried fruit….

Ahhhh, and then there was today’s afternoon snack.  A fresh from the oven choc chip cookie and some of those organic strawberries.  The strawbs make it a healthy snack, right??  Right 😉

Oh so gooey….

There was no photo of dinner last night since the camera was MIA, but here’s tonight’s fare.  The making of the honey dill vinaigrette…

Honey Dill Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar (whatever you have!)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

And here is my “use whatever veggies are in the veggie drawer and try to use up the spinach before it wilts” salad.  Tonight it contained red cabbage, yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, almond slivers, and chickpeas on top of spinach.  And some of that Vermont Extra Sharp Cheddar, aka crack cheese.

That’s a wrap kids!  Time to go run.  Have I told you guys I’m running 8 miles in a team marathon in 1 1/2 weeks?  Should be good times, but I have not been training like I should, so I’ve got to go put some mileage on these legs.  Cross your fingers I don’t get rained on!